Grief comes in waves, all at once drowning you in its unsuspecting power, later flowing away leaving your limp, exhausted form in its wake. As the large wave flows in, it can bring intense physical pain related to the grief itself. For a mother who’s lost a child, this grief may manifest in pain to the ovaries, uterus, breasts, or vagina. For others, or at other times, it might cause grief to the head, throat, neck, back, gut, or limbs. Grief also manifests in a barrage of symptoms from those of depression, anxiety, to even mania. There is no shortage of ways that grief will appear. Years past the initial loss, parents like myself may continue to find themselves caught up by that unsuspecting wave, drowning in their grief once again.
Kubler-Ross came up with the five stages of grief that have become famous: shock/denial, depression, anger, bargaining, and acceptance. Having lived through this ghastly experience: the premature death of my oldest son, it became clear that she was missing a vital step to recovery. It couldn’t end at acceptance, one had to find meaning. And that became the sixth stage of grief: finding meaning. That has been the purpose of this blog: to share my journey of finding meaning with you all in hopes that my journey, raw and genuine, might help you through your own.
Not long ago, I began with a new client. Her son of just over 20 had taken his own life much like my own son. I was given the opportunity to be another mother’s guide through this horrific, heart-shattering journey through the loss of a child. This loss in her case and in mine was through the stigmatized loss of a child who has suicided. When you face the loss of a loved one, complicated by them dying out of turn, further complicated by them taking their own life, meaning might be even more important to save your sanity. I’ve shared with you some of my meaning- filled experiences. When I met this woman, she shared with me her son’s love of baseball. In that first session, we barely touched on her beliefs and she seemed open to the possibility of communication with her son. I encouraged her to walk, knowing that it would be easier for her son to communicate through nature. It didn’t occur to me that he would roll his communication through nature. But he did-in the form of a baseball.
Not long afterward, when I was walking, I reached out to him, thanking him for the baseball he sent to his mother and welcoming more. Then, I found a baseball! Since none of my family members played baseball, I don’t think I’d ever seen one before, except on TV, in a store, or once at the Ems stadium when we learned once and for all, that we really didn’t care for the game. Low and behold, a few weeks later I found another baseball. Both were found in my neighborhood where I have been walking for a couple of decades. These gutters with baseballs were not near ball fields. I took pictures of these and shared them with my client, reinforcing her belief that her son was communicating. I believed those balls were gifts from her son, so I asked her if she’d like them or if I should give them to my puppy. She gave permission for me to give them to my puppy, a puppy who promptly destroyed them. My puppy, Knox, showed me every layer that goes into the making of a baseball! Recently, when my client returned from a trip, having isolated herself in her grief and not been out walking, she got back to walking with my encouragement, finding ANOTHER baseball.
Since then, I reached out to my own son, deceased now for 51/2 harrowing years, suggesting that balls were a great way to communicate, given the high number of balls Knox, our puppy, was capable of destroying. My son has honored me with so many balls: tennis balls, chuck-it balls, and racquetballs, that I’ve lost count!
Spirits communicate in mysterious ways, all of them beautiful, even in a filthy, ratty, baseball.
I welcome your letters with stories of how your loved ones communicate with you from beyond the veil!